Irony sharpens irony

June 29, 2014 § 88 Comments

Some folks may be interested in a few responses to some of my recent posts.

I don’t twitter myself, since I can’t seem to fit much worth saying into 140 characters or less.  But apparently there has been talk that some folks might be inclined to stop taking me seriously.  That sounds ominous, so you might want to check it out.

Free Northerner doubles down on what Foseti called the “one key tenet of the neoreaction”, that “Progressivism is a nontheistic Christian sect” and therefore “[Richard] Dawkins is a non-theistic Christian”.  There isn’t anything especially new that I can see, but there is an obligatory lengthy quotation from the Prophet Moldbug. Where I come from, a statement like “Richard Dawkins is a non-theistic Christian”  popping out of your logic-box is called a reductio ad absurdam.  The thing to do when you hit a reductio like that is examine your premises.

Free Northerner also helpfully confirms that no, not a single soul in the group of bloggers who self-identify as neoreactionary expressed the slightest awareness that the Mark Shea affair might not reflect well on neoreaction.  In addition, he recruits none other than C S Lewis to argue that the term ‘adult’ is an anti-concept.

Enjoy.

UPDATE:

More twitty stuff, contending that those who reject antiessentialism as stupid, wrong, and nominalist Just Don’t Understand Cladistics[tm].  Also, one commenter helpfully explains that by using the magic word “cladistics” you can turn men into fish, and Richard Dawkins is a Christian in the same sense that a man is a fish.

§ 88 Responses to Irony sharpens irony

  • […] Source: Zippy Catholic […]

  • Erik says:

    “Non-theistic Christian” should be interpreted like “bipedal tetrapod”, which is not a reductio however much it may sound like a contradiction in terms, literally translating as twofooted fourfooter. The first word of the term describes the particular entity, the second word of the term describes the entity’s grouping.

  • Patrick says:

    It would be better interpreted like bipedal whale pod. What? That makes no sense. Of course not that’s not the point.

    I wonder where that idea originated. It sounds like a new rhetorical strategy atheists might have invented to subvert religion since “the worshipful wonders of the mysterious universe” strategy seen e.g. in the TV show Cosmos doesn’t really work too well.

  • Zippy, with all due respect, your ‘summary’ is grossly deficient and and plain unfair. I would encourage your readers to actually read what I wrote themselves or they will be left with a false impression.

  • Peter Blood says:

    I think if we just started calling all the NRx-ers “Christians” we could make some heads explode.

  • Zippy says:

    Free Northerner:

    I encourage people to read the differing views as well. I do understand what you are saying, and there was no need for me to repeat it in the OP since I linked to it. I will give you the same advice I gave Nick Steves and Bryce Laliberte: take a few steps back, look hard at what you are getting yourself involved with, and ask yourself if you really want to be a part of it.

    Things I’ve learned about neoreaction recently include:

    1) Neoreaction has meetups, online magazines, canons, proposed oaths (even if only as a discussion piece), acknowledged leading thinkers, and members/affiliates self-defined as such. So it is a thing. It is a thing unless it is being criticized or the possibility is raised that something done in its name doesn’t reflect well on it: then it is not a thing.

    2) Despite all the navel gazing, neoreactionaries exhibit a tremendous lack of introspection. For example many seem to have the bizarre notion that their nascent movement is better equipped to resist the relentless leftward march of history than a two thousand year old notoriously reactionary institution.

    3) Neoreaction is (as Peter Blood helpfully explained) explicitly not-explicitly-Christian. As Bruce Charlton put it, any solution is welcome as long as Christianity isn’t it. It is not considered acceptable for NRx to be a Christian movement or to develop into a Christian movement.

    4) Neoreaction is nominalist and postmodern. The incantation ‘cladistic’ (and other incantations) justifies ignoring what is essential to various things and using words however you want to use them. The name of Christ actually does come into play here, specifically in claims that the progressive atheism of Richard Dawkins is a sect of Christianity or whatever. NRx is so committed to its postmodern nominalism that Christian neoreactionaries literally blaspheme the name of Christ, while at the same time insisting that NRx must remain explicitly not-explicitly-Christian.

  • I actually think “non-theistic Christian” makes a sort of sense, in that I would more or less get what somebody was saying if they used the term. Basically, Dawkins is somebody who enjoys the trappings of Christianity and whose worldview, whether he realizes ir or not, is irrevocably shaped by it. But he doesn’t practice the actual religion.

  • Zippy says:

    Peter Blood:

    I think if we just started calling all the NRx-ers “Christians” we could make some heads explode.

    I think some of them are trying to recover ‘high church’ Christianity, only without all the personally demanding belief in God, sacraments, etc. It really is the same basic kind of thing that drove Marxism: Marxists wanted to recover some of the communal goods that had been destroyed by liberalism without actually giving up the liberalism.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:
    That isn’t how they use it though: they don’t mean someone who is living off of the tattered remains of Christian patrimony while not being a believing Christian. (Hell, that describes the secular NRxers themselves).

  • I think that the blog “Shadow to Light” (not neoreaction as far as I know) uses a term similar to that with Dawkins, and Dawkins himself has described himself as a “cultural Christian”. So however the neo-guys use it it’s. at any rate, not the only time I’ve seen the term or something similar.

  • Patrick says:

    Maybe it came from Dawkins. To me it sounds like utter nonsense. “Non-theistic Christian” is like “gay marriage.” I know what they mean, but it’s still complete nonsense.

  • Mark says:

    Where I feel Neoreaction can claim an edge in defeating progressivism that say, popular reaction may not, is that neoreaction rejects the liberal playing field.

    Neoreaction doesn’t begin by saying that certain politically incorrect topics are off-limits, or that ideas we have been taught to find abhorrent might actually be sensible. Can you imagine mainstream American conservatives today rethinking suffrage or aristocracy? No chance… yet.

    I understand criticism of the movement, and the movement must be open to criticism.

    Positive elements of neoreaction:

    1) Doesn’t lock itself into playing on the field of liberal democracy where progressivism has a home-field advantage
    2) It is dispersed and unstructured, making it hard to destroy for someone who wished to
    3) The people blogging about it are intellectual, they grasp issues well and can analyze them from perspectives that may not be obvious
    4) It has a large pool of disenfranchised and dejected people from other ideologies and communities to draw from (i.e the Manosphere, Christian Reconstructionists, radical conservatives, intellectual libertarians etc.)

    Negative elements of neoreaction:

    1) At times, too much analysis of current events and the past and not enough planning for the future
    2) Internal dissension and petty sniping (particularly among members of the Manosphere)
    3) Lack of any singular, central, common ideal or set of transcendent goals

    This last one is important.

    You call out Moldbug for his claim that modern atheists, or the ‘new atheists’ as they like to call themselves, are ‘non-theistic christians’. This is to say that they reject the doctrines of Christianity, but like to keep its metaphysical trappings, mainly claims of moral value. After all, Dawkins is really reasoning in a circle when he says Christianity is bad. If God does not exist, then the values of good and bad are illusory, and therefore Christianity is vindicated from any sneering judgement. Mark Harris is a particularly tragic example of an amateur philosopher desperate to avoid nihilism by any means necessary. Criticism of these fools for their hypocrisy is warranted.

    I understand what Moldbug means here, but I agree with you 100% that calling these people ‘non-theistic christians’ is an exercise in terminological contradiction.
    And this is interesting, you could apply the same logic to call Moldbug a ‘regressive progressive’. He doesn’t like the trappings of progressivism (the unrealistic views of race and sex, the government system that caters to the lowest common denominator, and on and on), but he cannot bring himself to abandon the relativistic worldview that these ideas are rooted in, the adoration and idolization of the self in liberation atheism/humanism.

    Its why I’d say there are neoreactionaries who are ready to go beyond what Moldbug offers (And he offers a great deal), and proceed to a reaction that rejects not only the truly oppressive trappings of modernity but also its roots in the modernist tradition, the godless tradition.

    The facts of this world are clear for anyone willing to fully reject the lies of progressivism and modernity to see. The arguments for God’s existence are incredibly strong especially in terms of natural theology. Should we reject His framework, we will fail as the Marxists and the classical liberals failed to craft a tenable society. Amazingly you will find all things God commanded against are culturally maladaptive whether it be non-patriarchal family structures, bestiality, sodomy, infanticide (abortion today), theft, obsessive questioning of authority, and even very basic things like dwelling construction safety.

    God is essential both on the spiritual level, and on the practical level. In a world operating at large under the Creator’s guide, it is foolish to fashion a political movement without the acknowledgement of this, the single greatest fact of the reality we exist in, that our origin is in Him, our meaning is for Him, our morality is by Him, and our destiny is with Him.

    I believe those of us who belong to the Orthosphere, Christians of many stripes who reject modernity for many of the same practical political reasons as Moldbug and his acolytes, can make our case with a strength that other elements mat not be able to muster. Let us continue a civil dialogue and work diligently to convert those who have only put the red pill in their mouth (marginal elements who recognize specific gaping holes in progressivism) as well as those who have swallowed but have found the pill stuck halfway to the stomach (secular neoreactionaries).

    Be optimistic,for if God is with us, who can be against us?

    Mark

  • Dystopia Max says:

    You might also consider the fact that Dawkins pretty much confirmed his pwning:

    “”I would describe myself as a secular Christian in the same sense as secular Jews have a feeling for nostalgia and ceremonies,” said Dawkins.

    “But if you don’t have the supernatural, it’s not clear to me why you would call yourself a minister.

    “But I am a secular Christian, if you want to call me that.”

    He made his comments in response to a question from an American minister in the audience who said he continued to preach the teachings of Christ and considered himself a Christian despite not believing in Jesus’s miracles or His resurrection any more.”

    Are you going to publicly apologize for slandering Moldbug, given how Dawkins has pretty much accepted his label?

    ” For example many seem to have the bizarre notion that their nascent movement is better equipped to resist the relentless leftward march of history than a two thousand year old notoriously reactionary institution.”

    What was that, I couldn’t hear you over the Pope claiming that the Catholics were the True Communists All Along.

    Now how about you all actually READ those long-winded posts rather than claiming to read them and preening like cougars past their prime about some little inconsistency you found. For God is alive and has a sense of humor, and will provide events in real time to disprove your assertions as directly as possible.

  • Benjamin2.0 says:

    “Are you going to publicly apologize for slandering Moldbug, given how Dawkins has pretty much accepted his label?”

    But it’s still a nonsensical label. ‘Christian’ is a word which refers to a defined set of beliefs. ‘Secular’ or ‘atheist’ necessarily denies certain essential beliefs within that set. The term ‘Christian’ in fact and in Moldbug’s formulation must necessarily either not be used univocally in both cases or it is false in one case. The fact that Dawkins believes it, furthermore, doesn’t exactly elevate it to ‘worthy of belief.’ If anything, I for one would deny it out of spite as a direct result.

    “What was that, I couldn’t hear you over the Pope claiming that the Catholics were the True Communists All Along.”

    See? Like that. The term isn’t being used univocally. Communist-in-some-reduced-analogous-form-of-the-word is what the Holy Father is asserting, not Communist-in-fact.

    “For God is alive and has a sense of humor, and will provide events in real time to disprove your assertions as directly as possible.”

  • Zippy says:

    Dystopia Max:

    Now how about you all actually READ those long-winded posts rather than claiming to read them and preening like cougars past their prime about some little inconsistency you found.

    So what you are suggesting is that we should take some time and make the investment to get to know the individuals in more depth rather than dismissing them based on a stereotype – an informed stereotype, but a stereotype nonetheless?

  • Peter Blood says:

    I think it’s Michael Anissimov who’s proposing Communism.

    Nick Land agrees and amplifies. It’s not just Anissimov but a “sizable constituency” on the Alt-Right.

  • King Richard says:

    Dystopia Max,
    I suggest you read HH Francis’ statement with more discernment. He is actually stating that Communists claim to be for the poor but the Church is *actually* for the poor.
    Further, just because Dawkins also uses a nonsensical description for himself gives it no more meaning

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    I think it’s Michael Anissimov who’s proposing Communism.

    I find this to be a marked improvement over Anarcho-Capitalism. I also can think of no bigger endorsement than to be critiqued by Jim.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    Also contra Nick Land, it is not just rightists like Julius Evola who critique capitalism. Practically all of the throne and altar reactionaries reject the basic principles of capitalism.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Ita: indeed. Libertarians / Randroids have a hard time with rightist critiques of mammon worship.

  • Svar says:

    “Now how about you all actually READ those long-winded posts rather than claiming to read them and preening like cougars past their prime about some little inconsistency you found.”

    Cougars past their prime? Lol wut? Who’s hand went up your skirt this time?

    Most older traditional Catholics oppose both Capitalism and Communism and advocate a third way like G.K. Chesterton and distributism, Salazar and Estado Novo, and Franco and the Falange.

    We really don’t need a bunch of johnny-come-lately NRx to sell us ideas that we’ve been saying for decades if not centuries.

    That being said, I am a big fan of Evola, Guenon, Spengler, Nietszche, and Mishima. I would just rather read them directly then see them through a NRx lense.

  • Mark says:

    I don’t think the ‘communist’ sect of neoreactionary is widespread. After all, capitalism has a hit and miss rate. Communism just has a miss rate. Most of the economic problems of capitalism do ensue from state involvement, usually on behalf of corporations who wish to gain leverage over competition. In an ideal system, companies would be failing every day and new companies would be created every day.

    Most restrictions would be stringent cultural laws preventing the distribution of subversive media (and yes, that’s 90% of modern Hollywood and the music industry), as well as Biblically rooted prevention of catch-all ‘Orwell-Science’. Its why I reject transhumanism which Anissimov promotes.

    Mammon worship can be put down to the degradation of other values people find in life (the transcendent, families, honor, status, etc) None of these exist in the western world anymore which is why money is everything to everyone. Nobody wants a culture like that, for which capitalism ends up being an accompanying poison.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    corporations who wish to gain leverage over competition

    Yet this seems to have been the general rule in Capitalism- not the exception.

    Mammon worship can be put down to the degradation of other values people find in life (the transcendent, families, honor, status, etc) None of these exist in the western world anymore which is why money is everything to everyone. Nobody wants a culture like that, for which capitalism ends up being an accompanying poison.

    Reactionaries tend to see liberalism as the major culprit of such degradation. Capitalism is liberalism applied to economics.

  • Reader says:

    Most of modern Christianity has absorbed the central tenets of Cultural Marxism (e.g. mainstream Christian leaders’ support of open borders and mass Third World immigration into the West), which is why many younger conservatives are now converting to neo-paganism.


    The Laws of the Cathedral: Obey or Perish!

    http://occamsrazormag.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/the-laws-of-the-cathedral-obey-or-perish/

    ..

  • Doug says:

    Regarding the Dark Enlightenment on Twitter, here is a list of the key players:

    I must admit, as I’m growing sick and tired of Christian Cultural Marxism, I do find the Dark Enlightenment appealing.

  • CJ says:

    Most of modern Christianity has absorbed the central tenets of Cultural Marxism (e.g. mainstream Christian leaders’ support of open borders and mass Third World immigration into the West), which is why many younger conservatives are now converting to neo-paganism.

    They are converting to neo-paganism because they esteem [fill in the blank] more than Christ. They are discovering what Screwtape told us decades ago: He will not be used as a means to some other end. And so if they judge a religion by how well it serves the end of blood and soil nationalism, they can try their luck with whichever demon (1 Corinthians 10:20) deceived their ancestors into worshipping it.

  • Zippy says:

    I updated the post to provide links to some new content.

  • Zippy says:

    Another one of the rather delicious ironies in all this is that one of the main roots of NRx thought comes from none other than … Richard Dawkins.

  • John says:

    I have noticed that some NRx people say they reject Christianity because it has become a “girly man” religion.

    See here: http://occamsrazormag.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/are-christian-leaders-today-a-bunch-of-girly-men/

    They are not entirely wrong, which again is probably part of the growing appeal of neo-paganism.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Another one of the rather delicious ironies in all this is that one of the main roots of NRx thought comes from none other than … Richard Dawkins.

    Who is … a Christian! See, I was right (even though it was for the wrong reason)

    [Precisely. Because cladistics. –Z]

  • Zippy says:

    John:
    Christians aren’t all that different from all the other people in the world, as it turns out. What is rather precious is the NRx conviction that, as I mentioned upthread, as a brand spanking new movement trying to decide whether it is too exclusionary not to include transsexuals as intellectual contributors, NRx expects to be able to resist cultural forces better than a millennia old notoriously reactionary institution.

  • Marissa says:

    Stop being a “pathetic beta wanker” and read a bunch of nerds whose only connection to women is a guy in a dress.

  • Marissa says:

    Also, I did mean to actually say something important, but couldn’t stop myself from hitting enter as I rolled my eyes at this nonsense.

    One cannot deny Christ and be a Christian. Christian is a word that roughly means “one who accepts Jesus as the (only) divine savior of mankind” (feel free to clarify). The very meaning of the word rests in the belief that God loved his human creatures so much that he became man to save all men from sin.

    It is simply impossible for a phrase like “secular Christian” to mean anything. I can translate it into something like “one who does not believe in the supernatural who believes in the divine person of Jesus the savior”. It can’t make sense. Similarly “non-theistic Christian” might be translated to “one who does not believe in divine persons who believes in the divine person of Jesus who became man…etc.”

    These people are by definition anti-Christians.

  • Zippy,

    As an old-fashioned reactionary who aspires to be a “Catholic reactionary”, I offer responses to three comments you made on this thread.

    1. “[Neoreactionaries] don’t mean someone who is living off of the tattered remains of Christian patrimony while not being a believing Christian.”

    This is almost exactly what Moldbug thinks; for him, the essential elements of the Puritan patrimony have carried over, except the elements aren’t tattered–they’ve never been stronger.

    2. “NRx is so committed to its postmodern nominalism that Christian neoreactionaries literally blaspheme the name of Christ…”

    “Christianity” is not the name of Christ. Anyone who is capable of understanding Moldbug knows he uses the term to say he thinks modern day Progressives are intellectual heirs of a specific type of Christian sectarianism.

    2. “NRx expects to be able to resist cultural forces better than a millennia old notoriously reactionary institution.”

    Similarly, “Christianity” is not the Catholic Church. No one is required to use the term to connote the “true beliefs and correct practices of the Christian faith.” It can be used to refer to the set of communities (either in whole or in part) who claim to follow the precepts of Jesus Christ, a very mixed bag indeed.

    Jim would like to bring back the old Anglican system, which he thinks–with a few improvements–would make the most effective safeguard against progressivism, which he clearly understands to be evil. In this, he is not far from the Kingdom of God.

    Jim wrongly thinks that biblical fundamentalism is the strength of true Christianity. Again, he is close to the Kingdom here because he senses that plenary inspiration is essential.

    What Jim can’t see (because he lacks faith) is that the true Christian Religion, embodied by the Catholic Church will be preserved because of the divine promises and the sacraments. He thinks everything depends on the present milquetoast leadership of the church.

    It doesn’t. The novus ordo mass, despite its accidental deficiencies is more than enough to overcome the world.

    4. “It is not considered acceptable for NRx to be a Christian movement or to develop into a Christian movement.”

    It did not begin as a Christian movement. Why don’t we take a look at a list of the essential insights of NRx and then decide whether it’s compatible with the faith or not?

    Thanks for your time,
    Andrew

  • Mark says:

    What is this garbage about ‘neo-paganism’? honestly, this is beyond idiotic. You might as well endorse Wicca. The only people following Odin and Loki are very strange individuals who coalesce to enjoy mutual hippie touching. There is a reason the Abrahamic faiths have survived and those Mormon-like beliefs in physical gods like Zeus have fallen by the wayside.

  • Mark says:

    “Jim wrongly thinks that biblical fundamentalism is the strength of true Christianity”

    I strongly agree with Jim! But the fact is this strength is practically non-existent, and must be fostered again. If Christians could engage in the zeal that Sunni Muslims do, the Cathedral would be destroyed.

  • Zippy says:

    Andrew Matthews:

    This is almost exactly what Moldbug thinks; for him, the essential elements of the Puritan patrimony have carried over, except the elements aren’t tattered–they’ve never been stronger.

    You missed the point. That may be roughly how Moldbug characterizes progressives; but it is actually a reasonable characterization of Moldbug and the NRxers themselves.

    “Christianity” is not the name of Christ.

    Christianity is short for followers of Christ. Just because it abbreviates doesn’t mean that His name has disappeared.

    Similarly, “Christianity” is not the Catholic Church.

    You missed the point here too. Here for example is Foseti in my own combox:

    By all means believe in God. But any surge in Christianity in the US will be accompanied by a significant political shift to the Left.

    The implicit assumption is that this brand new ‘reactionary’ movement of explicitly anti-explicitly-Christian secularists can do a better job resisting the leftward march of the culture. At the same time they are already arguing amongst themselves as to whether NRx is sufficiently tolerant that a transsexual can be an intellectual contributor to NRx. It is risible.

    Why don’t we take a look at a list of the essential insights of NRx and then decide whether it’s compatible with the faith or not?

    I have. It isn’t. You didn’t even get into their materialism, antiessentialism, HBD, etc — the other elements of my recent critique.

    The basic insight that liberalism is false, etc is all well and good; but you don’t have to go to NRx for that, and their understanding of liberalism is deficient to enough of an extent as to make it either useless or outright dangerous.

  • Islam is not an Abrahamic faith despite its claims. The promise is through Isaac, not Ishmael.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ Andrew:

    …and that’s germane to the discussion…?

  • Catholic Economist says:

    As an old-fashioned reactionary who aspires to be a “Catholic reactionary”, I offer responses to three comments you made on this thread.

    Why don’t we take a look at a list of the essential insights of NRx and then decide whether it’s compatible with the faith or not?

    I think one of the things that has disturbed me the most about the Catholic followers of the neoreaction is just how oblivious they appear to be to the Traditional social teachings of the Catholic Church. Its as if the thought never occurred to them that a nearly 2,000 year old institution founded by Christ Himself may have a thing or two to say about what ails our curernt society.

    As a secular-based movement, the neoreaction is merely a retread of proposed “solutions” that men have been convincing themselves will work for hundreds of years now. Of course, when Nature intervenes and things fall apart again, the exacerbated call will go up, “If only the movement had been purer, then surely it would have worked!” And the calamity will repeat itself again and again as man continually tries to convince himself that he is wiser than God.

    My advice is to forget Moldbug and the lot of them. The only answer any god-fearing Catholic should consider is the Christocentric one. So rather than wasting your days worrying about neocameralism read Quas Primas, Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors, Liberalism is a Sin” by Fr. Salvany, or “The Framework of a Christian State” by Fr. Cahill. Heck, just type “Social Kingship of Christ” into Google and read what comes up. Here’s a good start from the excellent Michael Davies (R.I.P): http://www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/archive-christ_the_king.htm

    It doesn’t. The novus ordo mass, despite its accidental deficiencies is more than enough to overcome the world.

    No. Just no. A simple hour’s worth of reading about Annibale Bugnini, the primary author of the NO, should disabuse you of that notion.

  • Zippy:

    You missed the point, etc.

    Did I? The proposition “Progressivism unselfconsciously presupposes the Christian worldview inherent in the Western patrimony” does not contradict “NRx unselfconsciously presupposes the Christian worldview inherent in the Western patrimony.”

    I believe both are true.

    But, what you said before was: “That isn’t how they use it [the term Christianity] though: they don’t mean someone who is living off of the tattered remains of Christian patrimony while not being a believing Christian.”

    I don’t know about others, but I don’t get the sense Moldbug, Jim, and Free Northerner mean traditional Catholic Christianity when they talk about modern “Christianity.”

    Christianity is short for followers of Christ. Just because it abbreviates doesn’t mean that His name has disappeared.”

    Christ is not Jesus’s name. It is a title (albeit, solely His) and it means “Messiah.” Your pedantry is showing: words very often can bear different senses; the appropriate sense is determined by context.

    Let’s be real. The term is often used to refer to the mass of Christian profession, which includes heretical sects and schismatic churches. When Christianity is talked about with respect to a particular geographic region or temporal period, the term approximates the true faith to lesser and greater degrees. It is certainly appropriate to speak of an “Arian Christianity” practiced in churches compromised during the ascendancy of that particular heresy.

    You missed the point here too. Here for example is Foseti in my own combox:

    By all means believe in God. But any surge in Christianity in the US will be accompanied by a significant political shift to the Left.

    Foseti is likely talking about American Christianity, which is Protestant & therefore not anchored in the Catholic tradition. He certainly isn’t talking about Tridentine or counter-revolutionary Catholicism. American Christianity is inherently gnostic and progressive, because it is religion organized for the benefit and guided by those leaders who are best able to persuade the sheeple they have special insight by means of their direct, non-sacramental relationship with Jesus.

    The implicit assumption is that this brand new ‘reactionary’ movement of explicitly anti-explicitly-Christian secularists can do a better job resisting the leftward march of the culture.

    It remains to be seen whether NRx will do better than gnostic “Christianity.”

    At the same time they are already arguing amongst themselves as to whether NRx is sufficiently tolerant that a transsexual can be an intellectual contributor to NRx.

    Michael Annissimov is absolutely right on that issue. In your opinion, is Annissimov a neoreactionary?

    I have.

    Great. I’ve been looking for a list of the essential doctrines of NRx. Where can I find it?

    It isn’t. You didn’t even get into their materialism, antiessentialism, HBD, etc — the other elements of my recent critique.

    I’m looking for a list of fundamental neoreactionary propositions endorsed by all or most of the key figures of NRx, not charges.

    Are you claiming that NRx is a complete philosophical worldview or system with its own metaphysics and epistemology?

    How is materialism essential to the thought of Laliberte, Steves, Free Northerner, or Dampier, let alone Moldbug? What evidence do you have that Jim is an antiessentialist other than his view that racism isn’t a real category of evil? And how is HBD inconsistent with revealed truth?

    Zippy, I’ve already skimmed most of what you’ve recently written on NRx. I’ll look more carefully at the posts you linked.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  • JSG: I was addressing Mark’s two comments @ about 7:30.

  • Catholic Economist: Can a Catholic be instructed by a pagan thinker or school of thought in any matter whatsoever?

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ Catholic Economist:

    The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb is another good one. I believe Zippy himself has endorsed it in the past.

  • Let me try that again:

    Catholic Economist: Can a Catholic never be instructed by a pagan thinker or school of thought in any matter whatsoever?

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    JSG: I was addressing Mark’s two comments @ about 7:30.

    And the question stands. The point was about Islamic zeal – not Islam’s validity (or lack thereof) as a religion. I don’t think anyone on this blog is going to argue with you about the latter point.

  • Zippy says:

    Andrew Matthews:

    I don’t know about others, but I don’t get the sense Moldbug, Jim, and Free Northerner mean traditional Catholic Christianity when they talk about modern “Christianity.”

    They don’t mean Christianity at all, actually. They are doing the equivalent of using (say) the term “man” to refer to (say) a fish.

    Christ is not Jesus’s name.

    So what? Does using “Christ” rather than “Jesus” turn a blasphemy into not-blasphemy?

    Are you claiming that NRx is a complete philosophical worldview or system with its own metaphysics and epistemology?

    Do you think I am claiming that? Where exactly? How about showing which specific statements of mine you think are wrong and why.

    How is materialism essential to the thought of Laliberte, Steves, Free Northerner, or Dampier, let alone Moldbug? What evidence do you have that Jim is an antiessentialist other than his view that racism isn’t a real category of evil? And how is HBD inconsistent with revealed truth?

    This is the same sort of trick question that I’ve answered before in other contexts.

    To pick one example from your list, I’m certain that Jim isn’t consistently antiessentialist about everything all the time, because if he was then he wouldn’t be able to think coherently at all. (In fact the term “consistently antiessentialist” is probably self contradictory). What is true is that Jim deploys antiessentialist rhetoric to beg the question in favor of conclusions he has predetermined.

    Liberals make unprincipled exceptions to their liberalism because they have to in order to govern at all. Martin Luther raged against reason, while writing all sorts of things he expected people to understand — using their reason.

    Again, so what?

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Great. I’ve been looking for a list of the essential doctrines of NRx. Where can I find it?

    Looks like we’ve got ourselves a positivist folks.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    How is materialism essential to the thought of Laliberte, Steves, Free Northerner, or Dampier, let alone Moldbug?

    Well for starters, one need not look farther than the recent hullabaloo that occurred over here when Zippy correctly attacked “game”. Two of the aforementioned individuals had no problem coming around these parts caterwauling the virtues of “the application of psychological techniques to establish social dominance”. Honestly, I don’t know a surer sign of swallowing materialism hook-line-and-sinker than buying into psychology. Think about it, the entire idea underlying game is that women are merely sexualized meat computers and the right bit of deft programming will net the desired output (i.e. sexy time!!!11!!1!). Moreover, the same individuals apparently believed that the desire for “social dominance” was morally positive since it could be directed to their oh-so-virtuous ends (vainglory anyone?), despite the fact that one can find at least 20 instance in a book such as “The Imitation of Christ” saying otherwise.

  • Zippy says:

    JSG:

    Looks like we’ve got ourselves a positivist folks.

    When NRx is something we can learn from, it is a solid tangible thing. When it is something subjected to criticism, it becomes intangible and is no longer a thing.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ Zippy:

    Even better. A positivist who is only positivist when it suits him. To be fair, I think (similar to your above point about antiessentialism) that “consistently positivist” is probably self-contradictory, which means it’s actually impossible to positivist all the time.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    Catholic Economist: Can a Catholic never be instructed by a pagan thinker or school of thought in any matter whatsoever?

    Indeed, it is possible for pagans to inform Catholics on certain matters. However, there are two points worth noting: (i.) not all things pagan can be Christianized, and (ii.) whether we decide to attempt to Christianize something must be measured against the fruits it will bear.

    An example: The Angelic Doctor took Aristotelianism and produced perhaps the greatest piece of theological work that the world has ever seen. Of course, had St. Thomas Aquinas taken the the work of Aristotle and ended up concluding that we should be trying to acquire wealth, women, and social prestige, I would be skeptical of its usefulness to the pious Catholic soul.

    Make no mistake, the neoreaction is simply selling you the same bill of goods as the liberals they rail against. The only difference is that they get to be in charge this time, so you’re suppose to be believe that everything will go swimmingly this time around.

  • Zippy says:

    Catholic Economist:

    Two of the aforementioned individuals had no problem coming around these parts caterwauling the virtues of “the application of psychological techniques to establish social dominance”.

    In addition to materialism, that discussion made their nominalism/antissentialism manifest. They use the word “Game” like Humpty Dumpty: it means just what they say it means, nothing more, nothing less, whatever was necessary to conclude that Game is sanctified and blessed and a good thing for Christian men. (Pay no attention to the Heartiste and Rooshv behind the curtain).

  • Zippy says:

    Catholic Economist:

    Indeed, it is possible for pagans to inform Catholics on certain matters.

    I don’t know why people always think this is a significant rhetorical point. Everything that exists has some truth in it. It is possible to learn things from the medical experiments that the Nazis did on prisoners.

  • JSG: Really?? Mark’s statements suggested something about Islamic zeal: I.e., he thinks Islam demonstrates vitality & staying power somehow because it is an “Abrahamic faith.” I disagree. To expand: First, it isn’t Abrahamic because it doesn’t participate in the faith of Abraham. Second, it isn’t historically Abrahamic at all, having arisen some 2,500 years after Abraham. Third, no necessary connection exists between vitality/ longevity and being Abrahamic. Samaritanism and Arianism possess better claims to be historically Abrahamic: the first has no vitality & the second had no staying power. And, what about Hinduism or Buddhism? Both demonstrated vitality and staying power for a long time.

  • Ita Scripta Est says:

    An example: The Angelic Doctor took Aristotelianism and produced perhaps the greatest piece of theological work that the world has ever seen. Of course, had St. Thomas Aquinas taken the the work of Aristotle and ended up concluding that we should be trying to acquire wealth, women, and social prestige, I would be skeptical of its usefulness to the pious Catholic soul.

    Conversely I would argue that the people who try to fuse Austrian Economics or “Game” with Catholicism are not contrary to their claims, like St. Thomas but rather are much more like the Latin Averroists who wanted to “incorporate” Aristotle as well except where Aristotle differed from the Church, Aristotle was to win.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    How is materialism essential to the thought of Laliberte, Steves, Free Northerner, or Dampier, let alone Moldbug?

    Perhaps a bit more evidence:

    Reactionaries affirm that the development of deep heritage is a natural cultural development centered primarily on group trust and cooperation. Although codes of Deep Heritage commonly do step into metaphysics to justify the moral rightness or wrongness of certain behaviors and dispositions, many prescriptions therein have obvious social benefits, and the remainder usually benign or non-pathological. Therefore Deep Heritage promotes the common good, and group adaptive advantages.

    Because of such features, Reactionaries affirm that explaining deep heritage principally as ideology (totalizing narratives which purport to answer all questions of “heaven and earth”) lacks parsimony. Although it is common for codes of Deep Heritage to include unprovable, or dubious, or even internally incoherent metaphysical claims, such claims often have only a negligible influence on day-to-day social interactions. Moreover systematic metaphysical claims which “touch earth” not at all or very little may yet shore up a sense of identity among the diverse members of society, improve social cohesion and cooperation, and make members more productive.

    Reactionaries affirm that since Deep Heritage is natural and largely beneficial, public policy prescriptions that ignore, fail to take account of, or actively seek to destroy it, are at best foolish, and almost surely harm group adaptive benefit and thus the common good.

    From the “Reactionary Consensus” at: http://nickbsteves.wordpress.com/reactionary-consensus/

    Nope, no materialism here folks. Just keep moving along.

  • Gavrila says:

    Mr. Matthews,

    Jim would like to bring back the old Anglican system, which he thinks–with a few improvements–would make the most effective safeguard against progressivism, which he clearly understands to be evil.

    The Anglican system contained the seeds of its own destruction since it leavened Anglican governance with Puritan economic assumptions and rules. The Puritans enriched themselves and their economic success eventually translated into political power in the Victorian age, whereupon the Anglican system began to be dismantled. So much for the Anglican system.

    Prior to that was the “crypto-Papist” system from Latimer to Laud and prior to that was medieval political Catholicism.

    But then the Tudors, Laud, Cromwell, Charles II and later liberals like Gladstone did not see themselves as establishing systems necessarily. Rather they pursued visions of life which they believed in, and from that political features arose.

    Later on Thatcher saw herself as “implementing” Friedmanism, which led to all kinds of unintended consequences. Similarly, neoreactionaries wish to begin with what C.S. Lewis called “second things” (see God in the Dock, Lewis, C.S.). They would like to to devise and implement a ‘science of administration’ (“cameralism”).

    They are concerned with the form which their political system will take rather than what will underpin it philosophically – not understanding that form is inseparable from content. This is what makes neoreaction so elastic.

  • Gavrila says:

    By the way, I would say that Lady Thatcher and Lord Tebbit of Britain meet the definition of neoreactionaries – before the word was invented – to a tee.

    They consciously implemented a system which, while modernist, was nonetheless a reaction against the Labourite socialism of 1945-1979 – reviving pre-war economic ideas.

    Though Christians, they were happy to dismantle traditional Christian protections in law (e.g. abolishing the restrictions on Sunday trading).

    Result: disastrous unintended consequences in economic life and increasing social and cultural liberalism.

    Would the recovering libertarians of NRx behave much differently or fail less badly?

  • Reader says:

    Zip,

    To be honest, Pope Francis’ praying at Lampedusa for the African invasion of Europe was the last straw for me.

    I’ve left Catholicism and have returned to the religion of my European ancestors: Asatru

    http://www.runestone.org/

    And I’ll tell you something: I’ve never felt happier.

    I’ll say a prayer to Odin tonight and ask that you too can find the True Path.

  • Zippy says:

    Reader:
    Good luck with that. Christianity will still be here when you have exhausted your fad.

  • Zippy says:

    Catholic Economist:
    The materialism and nominalism aren’t unrelated, either. Their view of language as “social technology” is part of what drives their nominalism, and the notion that the purpose of language is (rather than to communicate meaning) to instrumentally produce responses in others is both materialist and postmodern. And their materialist view of living things leads them to conflate men with fish, and by analogy atheists with Christians.

  • Zippy says:

    Gavrila:

    They are concerned with the form which their political system will take rather than what will underpin it philosophically – not understanding that form is inseparable from content. This is what makes neoreaction so elastic.

    IOW they are typical moderns, who want the beneficial ‘outputs’ of religion without having to actually believe in anything. They are formalists, as the Prophet Moldbug calls them. They want the Good, the True, and the Beautiful while maintaining (and insisting upon) metaphysical neutrality.

    Typical moderns.

    They are under the delusion that they have taken the “red pill” just because they have realized that liberal equality is a farce. They are a group of adolescents planting a flag at the bottom of Everest.

  • Marissa says:

    CJ: And so if they judge a religion by how well it serves the end of blood and soil nationalism, they can try their luck with whichever demon (1 Corinthians 10:20) deceived their ancestors into worshipping it.

    They should read Pius XI’s encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge to the German people in 1937:

    Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community – however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things – whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.

  • Marissa says:

    After regretfully clicking a link to “anarchopapist” blog, I can still be taken aback in wonder at the nominalism of using a word that roughly means “a building made to be so beautiful that one can’t but help to worship God inside of it or by merely looking at it” to instead mean the root of all modern evil.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ Andrew:

    Yes, really.

    The powers of human self-delusion to do many things – including motivate – are remarkable.

    It doesn’t matter that Islam is not actually an Abrahamic faith. It just matters that it thinks it is.

  • Zippy:

    They don’t mean Christianity at all, actually. They are doing the equivalent of using (say) the term “man” to refer to (say) a fish.

    You mean they don’t use the term in the sense you require them to. When I check the dictionary, I notice that “Christianity” can be used to pick out a particular Christian religious system (e.g., “She followed fundamentalist Christianity.”).

    Must writers always use a single-word qualifier with the term to signal that they aren’t denigrating our religion per se?

    Does using “Christ” rather than “Jesus” turn a blasphemy into not-blasphemy?

    Is it blasphemy to speak of Arian Christianity or sectarian Christianity? Is it blasphemy to think or say that “Christianity” as generally practiced in the modern West is corrupted by liberalism?

    Jim praises St. Paul’s Christianity and derides current egalitarian expressions of it.

    How about showing which specific statements of mine you think are wrong and why.

    I did.

    When NRx is something we can learn from, it is a solid tangible thing. When it is something subjected to criticism, it becomes intangible and is no longer a thing.

    NRx is a thing I’ve learned from. However, I’m not quite sure what sort of thing it is. Is it a worldview, a particular (sophomoric?) school of political philosophy, or a temporary alliance of diverse thinkers who agree on certain points? Criticisms of a thing ought to be applicable to the sort of thing it is.

    I’m certain that Jim isn’t consistently antiessentialist about everything all the time, because if he was then he wouldn’t be able to think coherently at all. (In fact the term “consistently antiessentialist” is probably self contradictory). What is true is that Jim deploys antiessentialist rhetoric to beg the question in favor of conclusions he has predetermined.

    I’m not asking for a demonstration that Jim (or NRx in general) is absolutely consistently antiessentialist. I’m questioning whether the pattern exists. Would you say that the neoreactionaries’ use of the terms “Christianity” and “Cathedral” are instances of a pattern of dishonest antiessentialist rhetoric?

    Again, so what?

    Well, I need some additional convincing that Jim’s use of terms is antiessentialist. (Don’t worry, I’m not demanding that you make convincing me a special project. You’re a good thinker and I’m content to read whatever material you decide to post.)

    I’d be surprised if Jim would disagree that racial loyalty or animosity can motivate unjust acts. As for “racism”, he thinks that it is a thing, he just differs with you on what sort of thing it is (i.e., it’s a tool of progressive oppression of whites).

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    I did.

    Not in the context of “Are you claiming that NRx is a complete philosophical worldview or system with its own metaphysics and epistemology?”

  • Catholic Economist: I found your examples helpful to understand where you all are coming from. I’m especially glad to be reminded about Steve’s post “Reactionary Consensus,” which I’d forgotten about.

  • Zippy,

    I don’t know why people always think this is a significant rhetorical point.

    I found it effective enough in order to avoid dealing with a comment full of question-begging assumptions.

  • Not in the context of “Are you claiming that NRx is a complete philosophical worldview or system with its own metaphysics and epistemology?”

    I suppose I didn’t.

    Zippy’s charges of NRx’s alleged materialism, antiessentialism, and postmodern nihilism appear to me elements of an analysis of a neoreactionary worldview.

    I’m fine with letting the statements of his I’ve already objected to serve.

  • Zippy says:

    Andrew Matthews:
    Actually I just call Arianism “Arianism”, not “Arian Christianity”.

    Must writers always use a single-word qualifier with the term to signal that they aren’t denigrating our religion per se?

    You are just being obtuse; whether genuinely so or as a rhetorical strategy is hard to say. You were the one who distinguished between “Christ” and “Jesus”, implying that the former isn’t blasphemous in a context in which the latter is blasphemous.

    “Atheist Christianity” is not only a farrago of nonsense; it is also blasphemous. That other usages of “Christianity” might approach blasphemy without crossing a nonexistent bright line implies pretty much nothing interesting.

  • R7 Rocket says:

    Peter Blood said:

    Libertarians / Randroids have a hard time with rightist critiques of mammon worship.

    You can start by defining “greed”. Go ahead, try it.

  • Zippy says:

    Yeah Peter, and define “lust”. Go ahead and try. The challenge implies that it doesn’t exist.

  • R7 Rocket says:

    It’s a lot easier to lie to people when you’re using terms that have no real meaning.

    “Greed”, “social justice”, “selfishness”, “extremist”, and “moderates”, etc. These meaningless terms are the best friends of conmen.

  • Zippy says:

    Greed is an anti-concept, I guess. Folks always show up to comment and demonstrate my points.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    You can start by defining “greed”. Go ahead, try it.

    Ok, from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    Avarice (from Latin avarus, “greedy”; “to crave”) is the inordinate love for riches. Its special malice, broadly speaking, lies in that it makes the getting and keeping of money, possessions, and the like, a purpose in itself to live for. It does not see that these things are valuable only as instruments for the conduct of a rational and harmonious life, due regard being paid of course to the special social condition in which one is placed. It is called a capital vice because it has as its object that for the gaining or holding of which many other sins are committed. It is more to be dreaded in that it often cloaks itself as a virtue, or insinuates itself under the pretext of making a decent provision for the future. In so far as avarice is an incentive to injustice in acquiring and retaining of wealth, it is frequently a grievous sin. In itself, however, and in so far as it implies simply an excessive desire of, or pleasure in, riches, it is commonly not a mortal sin.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02148b.htm

  • R7 Rocket says:

    Now… I wonder who would benefit from encouraging people to not acquire surplus wealth?

  • Zippy says:

    Catholic Economist:
    You made the mistake of taking an unserious question seriously.

  • R7 Rocket says:

    It is called a capital vice because it has as its object that for the gaining or holding of which many other sins are committed. It is more to be dreaded in that it often cloaks itself as a virtue, or insinuates itself under the pretext of making a decent provision for the future. In so far as avarice is an incentive to injustice in acquiring and retaining of wealth, it is frequently a grievous sin. In itself, however, and in so far as it implies simply an excessive desire of, or pleasure in, riches, it is commonly not a mortal sin.

    Don’t we already have the word “stealing”? A term with actual meaning (taking other people’s stuff). Why the need for a word (greed) that is used to shame people from spending less than they earn?

  • R7 Rocket says:

    You made the mistake of taking an unserious question seriously.

    Zippy has stated in other comments that he is okay with the family court system. Isn’t that odd?

    [Actually I haven’t, which is why you did not quote or link to anything I actually said.– Z]

  • R7 Rocket says:

    Of course you could clarify and denounce the divorce industry and the family court system. Perhaps you could call for the excommunication of every Family Court Judge…

  • CJ says:

    R7 Rocket really reminds me of that guy with the Foghorn Leghorn avatar.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:
    The guy with the Foghorn Leghorn avatar is James A Donald a.k.a. Jim, the very same popular NRx writer Andrew Matthews refers to upthread.

  • Mark says:

    To respond to Andrew for a moment: When I say Abrahamic, I am not making a historical analysis, but rather a statement on the monotheistic conception of a supreme God beyond space and time. You mention Arianism and Samaritanism, both being simply offshoots that have been crowded out both passively and actively. I can’t go into Samaritanism too much because its also tied to ethnicity and other factors, but Arianism was merely a popular heresy that has been largely purged from Christianity.

    Looking at Buddhism and Hinduism, you’re dealing with something different here, because both a pantheistic religions operating in almost cloistered geographical locations. Hinduism is tied to the Indian state as Christianity is tied to the Armenian state and even more so. Buddhism only saw an expansion and accomplished staying power when it encountered very weak alternatives (it never made headway in India, but when it reached the far east, it was up against relatively incoherent philosophies).

    My compliments to Sunni Islam relate specifically to how devout they seem to remain, and are thus very easily radicalized. My main point was that if we could isolate why this is, and unlock its potential within Christianity (which has existed in the past, so we know it is there), then a truly Christian reaction is much more possible. I like how vulnerable secular Arab regimes are to Islam, and would hope that our own secular regimes were to become as vulnerable to Christianity.

  • Marissa says:

    Zippy’s charges of NRx’s alleged materialism, antiessentialism, and postmodern nihilism appear to me elements of an analysis of a neoreactionary worldview.

    “It’s just your interpretation.”

    Now… I wonder who would benefit from encouraging people to not acquire surplus wealth as a purpose in itself to live for?

    You would (your immortal soul) as well as God and everyone in heaven who wishes you would end up there too.

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